My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

Back To Bed

Today is the first working day of 2016.  It was supposed to be my first day back at the office after the holidays, but instead it was back to bed for me.

It seems that all the fun and late nights over the last 2 weeks have finally caught up to me and I came down with a brutal cold yesterday.  It started with razor blades in my throat Saturday night, but progressed to a full blown cold yesterday.  I was up all night coughing and blowing my nose and got very little sleep.

Normally I would haul my sick self into work and suffer through the day at my desk.  Today, however, since I didn’t need to drive my son into school (he doesn’t start back until tomorrow), I took advantage and just decided to stay in bed.  I loaded up on Advil and cold meds, got cozy under the covers, and actually got a few hours of sleep.

Now, I’ve dealt with work stuff for a few hours and can hear my pillow calling me again.  Being sick sucks, but naps are fantastic!

cold meds

Hopefully this cold doesn’t stick around for too long.  I really don’t have time to be sick.

Have any secret cold remedies you can share?

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Too Tired

I’m too tired for a real post so this will be short and sweet.  Tonight’s WOD wore me out.


We went to the 7:30 class. The snatches were a good challenge and I rocked the double unders. I went unbroken in all but one round!  Double unders just might be my favourite CrossFit move!  Definitely way more fun than wall balls or thrusters!

After class I came home, showered up, and sat on the couch all night. I’m pooped!  Now I’m writing this quick post and then I’m off to bed. I had a good sleep last night and hoping to have another good one tonight. 😴

Sweet dreams!  

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Busy Sunday

This will be short and sweet.

sunday reminder

I had a busy day today with menu planning, groceries, an awesome steak dinner, a kids’ hockey game, and The Walking Dead!

I almost feel ready for the busy week ahead with kid’s hockey, a massage, 3 CrossFit classes, and my own hockey game or Silpada party- depending how I feel Thursday night!

And I am already looking forward to next weekend’s girls scrapbooking getaway in Collingwood.

Sadly, I’m already failing at my plan to go up to bed at 11pm.  We didn’t get home from my son’s hockey game until 10:30 and we had to watch The Walking Dead.  I’m still hoping by some miracle Glenn is still alive.  I know it’s unlikely, but I just can’t believe they killed him!

I’m behind schedule by about half an hour, so to make up for it, there will be no reading tonight.  Hopefully I will still have a chance at 7 hours if I fall asleep right away.

See you tomorrow!

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Thinking About Sleep

If you’ve been following along, you know it’s been one of my goals for a while now to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  Sadly, I have not been too successful at this. In the month of October, I got 7 or more hours of sleep only 11 times…and most of those were on weekends, which leaves me a tired kid during the week.

I really need to get my sleep under control.  The last couple of weeks have been especially rough.  My Fitbit shows many periods of restlessness and times awake each night.  It is starting to take its toll on me.  I’m tired all the time.  I’m tired in the gym, lack energy during the day, and just not feeling like I’m coping very well.  I barely held it together in a WOD last week, when i was on the verge of tears over wall balls!  I know I hate them, but they shouldn’t make me cry.  That’s a sign that things aren’t good.
suck it up

I’ve been reading and hearing about the importance of sleep in just about every blog and podcast I follow.  I saw this great video by Everyday Paleo‘s Sara Fragoso and Doc Parsley.  They talk about the relationship between poor sleep and stress and it really hit home.  They talk about the stressors that we face every day and how they impact our sleep. They also talk about how all repair in the body happen when we sleep, and if we aren’t getting enough sleep, things don’t repair properly, which leads to more stress on the body, which leads to poor sleep, and the cycle continues.  They suggest a few techniques to help break this cycle:

  • be aware of your stress
  • deal with it during the day to sleep better at night
  • let your body “come down” to allow for better sleep (meditating before bed helps)
  • practice deep breathing techniques

Basically do whatever you can to deal with the stress, so you can have a better sleep and let your body repair itself, so you are better able to deal with the stresses that come up the next day.

Here’s the video…it’s well worth the 5 minutes.

I’ve got a few things I’m going to try to do to help improve my sleep:

  1. Go to bed on time!  I tried the sleep alarm to tell me to go to bed, but it just didn’t work  Every night it would go off at 10:45 and I would just turn it off and continue to do whatever I was doing – usually finishing up whatever tv show we were watching.  Realistically we watch so little live tv, I could just finish whatever we are watching at another time.  I am going to change the alarm to 11 and really try to go up to bed when it goes off, and give myself 30 minutes to get ready for bed, foam roll, and read, and then lights out by 11:30 at the latest.  I know this should all start earlier, but I want to start with something realistic and then start moving the bedtime process earlier little by little.
  2. Listen to Meditation Minis twice a week.  I discovered a podcast with little 10 minute meditations.  It’s called Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton  I’m going to try to add this to my half hour bedtime routine a couple of times a week just before/after I turn out the light.  I’m hoping that by getting relaxed and in touch with my breathing it will make me “ready” for good sleep.
  3. VALUE MY SLEEP.  I just need to accept the fact that I need more sleep and make it happen!

Hopefully these 3 things will be easy to implement and stick with, and will all help me get better sleep, which will in turn make me happier, healthier, and as Steph Gaudreau says, “Harder to Kill”!

Do you have any techniques to deal with stress.

How much sleep do you get every night?

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October Goals

Hello-October

September just flew by and here we are at October 1st!

This seems like the perfect time to take a look back and see how I did with my September goals.  If you don’t want to read that whole post, here’s quick summary:

  1. Blog 3 times a week
  2. Eat well, get back to macro tracking
  3. Get 7 hours of sleep a night

So, here’s how I did:

  1. Blog:  I didn’t quite hit my goal of 3 times a week, but I did mange to post 9 times in September, which is way better than I was doing in the summer.  I also think this was pretty good since I was away for 5 days on my golf trip in there and didn’t even think about blogging then.
  2. Food/macros:  I did eat somewhat better in September than I had been eating over the summer, but it was still not quite as clean/healthy as I would have liked.  There were too many weekends away or with events that I let get in the way of my meal planning and grocery shopping, which I seem to need to stay on track food-wise.
  3. Sleep:  Looking at my FitBit sleep record over the month of September, I was in bed for at least 7 hours for 26/30 days.  However, I only managed at least 7 hours of sleep on 12 of those days, due to restless/awake periods during the night.

If I had to give myself a score on my September goals, I would probably give myself a 7/10.  I was very mindful of each goal, tried my best, but still could have done better.

For October, I am going to keep these 3 things as goals for the month and add 2 more to the list.  Both of my new additions are fitness related.  One is driven by the monthly member challenge (MMC) at my gym, and the other comes from a friend doing another challenge.

  1.  20 minutes of mobility each day:  This is the MMC for October at my CrossFit gym – CFNAC.  Last month it was miles on the Assault Bike (I did not participate in that, but one member actually rode 600 miles in September – you are a machine Perry Doody!).  This month’s mobility challenge seems more my speed, plus who can’t benefit from more mobility.  I have signed up for the Intermediate 5 days a week option, but will try to do it every day if I can.
    Oct_2015_MMC
  2. Plank challenge:  I saw this challenge this morning on my friend Marina’s Facebook page.  She is a very good planker (is that even a word?).  I am a very bad planker.  This seems like a fairly quick and easy way to improve.  It starts with a 20 second plank today and by the end of the month, will get us up to 5 minutes.  Since I am horrible at planks, I figured it was worth a try.
    30 day plank challenge

My plan is to plank in the morning, first thing when I get out of bed, and do 10 minutes of mobility before I go to bed each night.  The other 10 minutes of mobility I need will either be at the gym before/after class, or at work with a golf ball rolling my feet while I work at my desk.  My feet have been getting crampy during WODs lately, so hopefully this will help stretch the out a bit and work out some of the kinks. (BTW, I have been rolling my feet out as I type out this post and it feels fantastic!)

Anyone else setting goals for October?  

Anyone want to join in on the plank challenge?

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Happiness Update

MHP

I’ve been officially working on my Happiness Project for a little over a week now, so I figured it was time for an update.  As I mentioned in my Happiness Project kick-off post, I started my project with two simple things:  Making my bed every day, and setting an alarm for bed.  Here’s how I’ve been doing with these daily tasks this past week.

Making my bed:  A+  I have been faithfully making my bed since I started thinking about my Happiness Project.  It is such a simple thing to do and it does make me happy to see the nicely made bed each morning as I head off for my day.  Now, I’m getting the kids involved in this one and getting them to make their beds each day too.  They really aren’t too good at this, but we’ve had a chat, and starting tomorrow, they are going to make their beds every day too. This will likely make them slightly unhappy at first, but I’m hoping that they will get the same happiness boost that I’ve been getting when I see my nicely made bed.  I’m pretty sure having them make their beds every day will also make me happier since instead of looking into their rooms and seeing a disaster area, I will be greeted by a nicely made bed.

make your bed

Setting an alarm for bed:  A+
Actually going to bed when the alarm goes off:  A
Getting my goal of 7 hours of sleep a night:  

Every night my alarm goes off.  Most nights I’ve been heading upstairs, getting ready for bed, reading a bit, and then turning the light out by 11:30, which was my goal.  The problem with getting 7 hours, is that I have been having the crappiest  sleeps!  Check out the sleep I had Tuesday night (my Fitbit calls it the sleep I got Wednesday).  I went to bed on time, got up on time, but actually got less than 6 hours of sleep with all the tossing and turning I did.  UGH.

crappy sleep
Part of the reason my sleep was so crappy Tuesday night was hubby.  He was snorting and snoring like crazy and I just couldn’t block it out.  Anyways, I had a horrible sleep and Wednesday was a rough day.  Thursday I still didn’t hit my goal of 7 hours, but i had a much better sleep (perhaps going to CrossFit and having a hockey game on the same night helped!).  Weekends are the best.  Not having to get up at 6:30am pretty much guarantees I get more than 7 hours.  I guess I need to win the lotto so I can quit my job and make every day a weekend.  Since that is not likely to happen any time soon, I need to keep trying to find a way to get at least hours of sleep EVERY night.

While I continue to work on these first two happiness tips, I am adding in a third of Gretchen Rubin’s Try This At Home Tips.  This was actually the first TTAH tip she gave in her first podcast: The One Minute Rule:

one minute

If a task can be completed in one minute, do it “without delay”.  Taking care of the little things will allow you to better deal with bigger things.  This is another tip that seems like it should be fairly easy to implement.  Anything that only takes a minute to do can’t be that bad, right?  Little things like emptying the garbage or recycling bin when they are full instead of trying to keep cramming more stuff in, hanging up a coat instead of throwing it over the back of a chair, putting things back where they belong instead of just leaving them wherever you finished with them.  I’m hoping this is another TTAH tip I can get my family involved in, since they all seem to be fans of leaving crap all over the place!  Hopefully if we all start doing this our home will be a little more tidy and organized, which will definitely make me happier!

Do you have any tips on how I can get 7 hours of sleep a night?  

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Back to the Grind

Today was the first day of school in my neck of the woods.  For me, that means back to early mornings, car pools, and heavier traffic coming into the city.  None of this really makes me happy.  To be honest, all three of these things might actually reduce my level of happiness, which it too bad, since I am working on my Happiness Project and supposed to be doing things that make me happier.

So, to combat this, I need to find a way to make those three things seem better.  Here’s what I plan to do:

Early mornings:  All summer I was sleeping in about an extra hour to an hour and a half on weekday mornings.  That was awesome and it really helped me hit my goal of 7 hours of sleep a night.  Now that the alarm is back to going off at 6:30am, to get my 7 hours, I need to be asleep by 11:30 at the latest (and even earlier would be better).  For that to happen, I probably need to start by bedtime routine by 10:45pm at the latest.  This will give me time to change, brush my teeth, etc, and give me some time to read before I actually go to sleep.  I’ve got my alarm set for 10:45, so when it goes off, I need to head upstairs and start the process.  Otherwise, I don’t have a chance of hitting my 7 hours and will likely be tired and grumpy the next day.
time for bed

Car pool:  There isn’t too much I can do about this one.  My oldest goes to school in the city and I drive him in every day.  This is not a problem at all, since his school is about 5 minutes away from my office….which is part of the reason why we chose this school when we were searching. There are a few other kids from our area who also go to the school who can’t get there on their own, so I drive them to/from school for their parents.  This is fine, however, when the other kids are in the car, my son tends to put his headphones on and listen to music and zone out or sleep for the whole drive.  When it’s just the two of us, the headphones stay off and we generally chat for the hour long drive to school.  I miss this time with him when the other kids are with us.  I’m not too sure what to do about this one yet…I will keep thinking on it.
car pool
Traffic into the city.  While there isn’t too much I can do about the volume of traffic, I have decided that at least twice a week I will make the time in the car more enjoyable by listening to one of the podcasts I follow on the drive into school.  I’m not sure what the kids will think about this, but who knows, maybe they will learn something.  The podcasts I’m listening to are all about being healthier and happier, so maybe they will find them interesting, and if not, oh well!  Who knows, maybe the podcasts will generate some conversation from my normally silent travelling companions and address item #2 above too.  Fingers crossed!
podcasts

So that’s my plan of attack to try to not let the daily grind become a happiness suck.

How do you not let things become a happiness suck?

Have any other suggestions on how I can make sure these three things don’t get to me?

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My Happiness Project

I mentioned before that I had started listening to Podcasts on my drive into and out of work – click here to read that post. I’ve really been enjoying Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” podcast.  So much so that I also decided to read her book,  “The Happiness Project”.  Between the podcast and the book, I decided it was time for me to start my own happiness project. As you can see, my blog is called “My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans”.  For the most part, my posts have dealt with my pursuit of skinny jeans or the fitness and nutrition part of things.  I really haven’t dealt too much with the happiness side of things.

Don’t get me wrong.  My life really isn’t that bad, but I do think I have room to be happier – probably every one does.  So after listening to the Happier podcast, I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try, and implementing a happiness project of my own.  I’ve been using the tag of “my happiness project” for a few weeks now in various posts, but as of today, with this post, I am officially kicking off My Happiness Project!

MHPI’m sure this project will evolve as I get further into it, but for now, I am going to try implementing the various “try this at home” (TTAH) tips that Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth, talk about during their weekly podcast and other things that struck a chord with me from the book.  From what I can tell so far, most of the content of the book is being covered off in the podcasts, which nicely reinforces the concepts from the book. I like this, as it makes the concepts and tasks easier for me to remember, since Gretchen and Elizabeth always give examples from their life to help explain the various happiness habits and tasks they are talking about.  Most of the TTAH tips are really simple, quick, and easy things that seem like they would be easy to implement into my daily life and routine.  Which is good, because if they were big and complicated the likelihood that I would keep doing them is pretty slim.

The first TTAH that I implemented was from Episode 3:  Make your bed.  It sounded so simple and so easy…which is why I decided to get started with this tip.  Most days I already did make my bed…but I’ve been faithfully doing it daily since the end of July and I have to say, seeing a nicely made bed every time I walk into my bedroom does make me a bit happier..or at least doesn’t reduce my happiness.  I think I’ve even rubbed off on my hubby, since if he’s the second one out of the bed, he sometimes will take a minute and make the bed – which really just means straightening the duvet cover.

the bed is made

The second TTAH that I implemented was from Episode 2:  Set an alarm for bedtime.  If you’ve been reading aong with my blog regularly, you know that getting enough sleep has always been a challenge for me.  When I heard the tip about setting an alarm to bed, I thought it was genius.  By setting an alarm for bed, it reminds me that I’ve decided to make sleep a priority and that if I want to hit my goal of 7 hours, I need to start my bedtime routine.  So far, I haven’t really been too successful with this one.  Most days the alarm goes off and I turn it off and finish watching whatever show we’ve been watching on tv.  Some days I do go upstairs and get ready for bed, but those days are rare. Hopefully I will get better at this one, since I really do want and need to get more sleep

.sleep alarm
So, there you have it…the first few pieces of my happiness project.  My plan is to implement a new TTAH every week, while maintaining the previous tasks I’ve built into my daily life and routine.  Some will be easy, some will be hard, and some I’m pretty sure I won’t do.  Regardless, I’m hoping they all contribute in some way to improving my overall happiness, which I’m hoping will improve the overall happiness of everyone in my family.

Have you ever done a happiness project of your own?  How did it go…did it make you happier?

Feel free to try these TTAH tips yourself and let me know how you do.

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Sleep Update

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I am making it a goal for September to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  I have actually been working on this one for a while now, since I finally got fed up with feeling so tired all the time.

looking forward to sleep

I’ve been listening to a number of health-based podcasts, and it is surprising how often the topic of sleep comes up as a key to good health.  The general consensus seems to be that adults need somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.  I found this on the web:

hoursofsleep

One podcast, “Life in Focus” with Dr. Alessandra Wall & Christopher Browning, actually suggested that teens might need as much as 13 hours of sleep at night, given how much their bodies and brains are growing and changing.  Guess I shouldn’t nag my 16-year-old who could sleep the whole day away  🙂  Seems like he is just letting his body do it’s thing!

Anyways…adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.  Until I stated focusing on getting more sleep, I averaged somewhere between 6 and 7 hours of sleep.  Getting 7 hours or more was quite rare, and tended to only happen on weekends when I didn’t really have a set time to get up.  Since making a conscious effort to get more sleep (and actually setting an alarm to let me know it’s time to start thinking about going to bed – more on this to come in a future post), I have been doing quite a bit better.  It also helps that we are still in summer vacation mode, and don’t have to get the kids ready for school in the morning, so hubs and I have been sleeping in a bit and not getting up for work as early as we need to during the school year.

Here’s how my last week of sleep looked, as tracked by my Fitbit:

hours slept
Not too bad, if I do say so myself!  I hit my 7 hour target all but one night, and even then I came pretty close.  Wednesday I got some bonus sleep, as I was feeling totally run down, and decided after presenting to a client all morning that I was just going to go home and nap instead of going back to the office.  I don’t get to nap that often.  It was awesome and I slept like a rock!  I really should try to squeeze a nap in more often – maybe not a 3 hour nap, but a half hour every once in a while might be nice.

Here is the detail of my sleep.  The lines show times when I was either restless (blue lines) or awake (pink lines):

daily breakdown

Even though I’m hitting my 7 hours, I still have some work to do on my sleep quality.  I seem to wake up at least once very night and some nights I seem to be quite restless.  Not really too sure how to improve the sleep quality.  Guess I will have to hit up Google and do some research.

I’ve got one more week of “summer mode” and then it’s back into “school mode” when I have to get up about an hour earlier than I am now.  Losing that hour will make it challenging to get my 7 hours.  I will just have to make it a priority to get to bed earlier.  That should be interesting!

Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep a night?
Have any tips on how to improve your quality of sleep?

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September Goals

sorry-ive-been-slacking-copy

Hello blogiverse!  Remember me?  I’m your friendly, lack of posts, slacking blogger!

I’ve really been wanting to post, it just hasn’t been happening.  I think I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself to create the perfect blog post, which just stresses me out and in the end, makes it so nothing gets posted.  I am going to try to get over that and let myself just write and post and not worry if it’s perfect or thought-provoking. 🙂

So, this is going to be a quickie post about some goals I am setting for myself for September.  I ended up setting these goals after reading a post by a blogger who I follow who has also been a little slack in the posting department.  You can read the post here, by Cassy at Journey to Awesomehood.  She set some goals for herself that inspired me to do the same.

So, here are my goals for September (I’ll start now, since September is just around the corner – HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?)

My goals:

  1. Get back to blogging 3 times a week.  I know I have said this before, but as I stated earlier, I’m going to cut myself some slack and just blog and not get stressed about the process.  This is supposed to be a fun thing for me to do, and stressing out over a post totally defeats the whole purpose.
  2. Get back on track with eating well and to my macros.  This summer, and August especially, has not been great for my diet – and by diet I don’t mean eating less to lose weight, I mean eating to fuel my body and activities.  I am trying to eat to certain macro targets for fat, carbs and protein based on my current weight and workout levels.  I’ve got MyFitnessPal all set up with my specific targets and I’m entering what I eat (for the most part), but not eating towards my macro goals.  I need to get back on track with that and give the plan a chance so I can actually see the results through changes in my body.
  3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  This one will be hard, but I know if I do it I will feel so much better.  I’ve been listening to a number of health based podcasts, and reading a few books, and they have all been saying the same thing….Sleep is key!  Key to performance levels (both at work and in the gym), key to overall health, and even key to happiness.  I know I don’t get enough sleep and I’m really starting to feel it.  I’m exhausted all the time;  I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning; I’m yawning all the time; I look like crap; and I’m tired of it.  So, my target is 7 hours of sleep a night.  Ideally, it would be even more than that, but I’m going to start with aiming for 7 and go from there.

So, there you have it.  My goals for September.  They have been in my head as things that I need to do for some time, but actually putting them down in writing and getting them out into the world will hopefully make me more accountable and keep me on track.

Have you got any goals for September?

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